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    You Need Less Philosophy

    Daily Stoic Emails

    All this reading, all these quotes. This love of learning, our fascination with books

    No one is saying it’s a bad thing. Because it isn’t. 

    Still, it’s worth using, from time to time, a quip from Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire on yourself. “Less philosophy,” one brother says to his more introspective brother, “and more virtue.” That’s the same idea in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” It’s Epictetus: Don’t talk about your philosophy, embody it. It’s Marcus Aurelius: “Waste no more time talking about what a good man is like. Be one.” 

    Remember the whole point of Stoicism is what you do. It’s who you are. It’s the act of virtue, not the act of talking about virtue. Or reading about it. Or writing about it. 

    So today we have a short email, because it’s not something to think about. It’s just a prompt: Go do what needs to be done. Less philosophy, more virtue.

    P.S. This was originally sent on June 19, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.